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English professor moonlights as roller derby chick

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TEMPE, Ariz. -

What do roller derby and 19th century British literature have in common? More than you might think.

An ASU English professor is in the classroom by day -- but at night is when her roller derby alter ego comes out to fight.

Devoney Looser, the ASU English professor, has been a roller derby girl for four years.

For some, they may think it's an unlikely pairing, but she says roller derby has taught her things to take into her daily lessons.

Devoney Looser is a professor of English at Arizona State University, teaching 18th and 19th century British Lit.

"Why do I love my job? I get to read books. I love and try to communicate that love to students," says Looser.

She's been a professor for 20 years, specializing in literature by Jane Austen. But as the old adage goes -- you can never judge a book by its cover.

That's because for the past four years this straight laced professor has a unique hobby.

"My hobby is playing roller derby. My roller derby name is Stone Cold Jane Austen so combining my love of literature with a lighthearted take on professional wrestling."

It's something she tried on a whim but quickly fell in love with the fast-paced thrilling sport.

"For a time a long time it was something my students didn't know about but now these two lives, professor and roller derby player have really melded in a way that feels exciting and new and weird."

From the outside looking in, it may be hard to see a correlation between professor and roller derby hot shot. But 46-year-old Looser says it's actually brought her closer to her students and her work.

"Being out in the roller derby reminds me that my students are coming to read literature with the same kinds of trepidation that I bring in trying something for the first time on skates. I think being a student of roller derby has really helped me be a better teacher of literature students."

Her first bout -- or match -- is coming up soon.

Online: http://azrollerderby.com/

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